Tag: Carina Press

Review: Under Control by Shannon Stacey

Posted August 29, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Under Control by Shannon StaceyReviewer: Rowena
Under Control (Boston Fire, #5) by Shannon Stacey
Series: Boston Fire #5
Also in this series: Heat Exchange, Controlled Burn, Heat Exchange, Controlled Burn, Fully Ignited, Fully Ignited, Controlled Burn, Hot Response, Hot Response (Boston Fire, #4)
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: August 28, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads

When faced with the opportunity to change shifts while staying in the same house, veteran firefighter Derek Gilman jumps at the chance. His new schedule means not working Saturdays, which means more time to spend with his two kids. His divorce may have been amicable, but being a firefighter and a single dad is a lot to juggle. And when fate brings a gorgeous, wealthy woman into his life, he’s pretty sure he can’t handle more than he already is.

Olivia McGovern loves plans. She planned to start her own business and planned its growth. It’s earning her seven figures now, but her personal life simply doesn’t exist. Getting trapped in a broken elevator figures in exactly nowhere, and freaking out in front of a sexy firefighter definitely isn’t on the agenda. Especially not one with two kids and an ex.

What would have been a random incident with an attractive stranger becomes something more when a charity event brings them back together. They’re from different sides of the tracks, literally—with friends, family and careers to consider. But as Derek and Olivia are discovering, chemistry doesn’t allow for plans, and love doesn’t bother with logistics.

Under Control is the fifth book in the Boston Fire series by Shannon Stacey and it features firefighter Derek Gilman and newcomer Olivia McGovern as they fall in love with each other. Their story starts when they’re stuck in an elevator together and Derek helps Olivia with her not quite but maybe a little ankle injury. There’s an attraction on both sides but nothing comes of it because Olivia had to rush off after she was saved and Derek was still in the elevator but luck would be on their side when she shows up for a charity meeting and Derek is there too.

One of my favorite things about this series is that Shannon Stacey is writing romances for the everyday person and I’m so here for it. I mean sure, Olivia is a little richer than anyone that I know but I thought that her relationship with Derek, who has money worries and problems that I can totally relate to was a good one. I loved seeing them figure their shit out together. Olivia has issues with divorce and the baggage that comes with it, which is completely understandable given her family dynamic and seeing her try to figure her way through dating a man who shares custody of two kids with his ex-wife made for an interesting romance.

I loved seeing Derek try to find a balance in the early days of his relationship with Olivia and being there for his kids and their insecurities about their Mom’s big news. There was a lot of internal things these characters battled in this book and I thought Stacey did a wonderful job of weaving Derek’s life with Olivia’s and I love a straight up contemporary romance, which is what this was.

It was so easy for me to fall right back in with these characters. I enjoyed seeing the guys from the other books and seeing the girls get their gossip on with each other so that was fun though there were times when I thought a bunch of guys at a Red Sox games talking about buying engagement rings was a bit cheesy. Still, this book was a great addition to the Boston Fire series and I’m super excited for Grant’s book. This is what I look like, waiting on Grant’s book…

Overall, this was a solid romance and it left me satisfied that Derek finally got his happy ending. Olivia was a great match for Derek and I was super thrilled with how things turned out for them. I enjoyed getting to know Derek’s kids, seeing all of my other Boston Fire friends and there’s still much to look forward to so woot, you did great Shannon Stacey!

Grade: 4 out of 5

Boston Fire


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Review: Making Up by Lucy Parker

Posted June 14, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Making Up by Lucy ParkerReviewer: Rowena
Making Up (London Celebrities, #3) by Lucy Parker
Series: London Celebrities, #3
Also in this series: Pretty Face
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: May 28, 2018
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 254
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars


Author of Act Like It and Pretty Face Lucy Parker returns readers to the West End, where it’s fireworks onstage and off in a sexy enemies-to-lovers showdown.

Once upon a time, circus artist Trix Lane was the best around. Her spark vanished with her confidence, though, and reclaiming either has proved…difficult. So when the star of The Festival of Masks is nixed and Trix is unexpectedly thrust into the spotlight, it’s exactly the push she needs. But the joy over her sudden elevation in status is cut short by a new hire on the makeup team.

Leo Magasiva: disgraced wizard of special effects. He of the beautiful voice and impressive beard. Complete dickhead and—in an unexpected twist—an enragingly good kisser.

To Leo, something about Trix is…different. Lovely. Beautiful, even though the pint-size, pink-haired former bane of his existence still spends most of her waking hours working to annoy him. They’ve barely been able to spend two minutes together for years, and now he can’t get enough of her. On stage. At home. In his bed.

When it comes to commitment, Trix has been there, done that, never wants to do it again. Leo’s this close to the job of a lifetime, which would take him away from London—and from Trix. Their past is a constant barrier between them.

It seems hopeless.

Utterly impossible.

And yet…

Making Up is the third book in Lucy Parker’s London Celebrities series and it was another enjoyable book that I ate right up. Leo and Trix were a wonderful couple and their story was solid.

Trix Lane’s role in her show has been upgraded and she’s elated at the same time that she’s terrified of messing up. The new role is more complicated, her routines a lot harder and though she knows the basics, she must up her game if she wants to keep the role but her confidence has taken a hit thanks to her no good piece of shit ex, the ex that tried to get between her and her best friend Lily in Lily’s book, Pretty Face. To make matters worse, someone from her past is back in her life working on her show as a makeup artist and he’s the last person that she wants to see around.

It doesn’t matter what she wants because Leo isn’t going anywhere and he’s always around because he’s renting one of the rooms in the housing unit that Trix lives in. Poor thing, haha. But Leo is trying to make some moves for himself professionally after a setback. Sure, he’s not all that excited to see Trix on a daily basis but he’s not going to let her derail his plans.

This was a great romance about two people who did not get along but fell in love anyway. Leo and Trix’s story started when they were in high school and didn’t know how to deal with their big time feelings. Things were said, feelings were hurt and a feud began. Every time they saw each other, they burned hot and everyone tried to get out of their blast zone. Seeing them work things out and then figure their things out together made for an enjoyable romance.

Lucy Parker does a great job of making the readers care about her characters. I cared so much for both Trix and Leo. I wanted the best for them throughout the entire book, even when they were both getting on my nerves. Their story was full of warmth, charm and the romance itself was steamy. Leo was really good in the sack, haha. The way that he couldn’t get enough of Trix melted my heart. I loved seeing them come into their feelings for each other and though it wasn’t the most perfect of journeys, it was a good one.

I’m pretty anxious to see if we get more books from this world and I’m hoping that we do because I’d love to read a story featuring Jono front and center. His character is interesting. Overall, this book was fun and though there were times that I wanted to strangle first Trix and then Leo and Cat wasn’t safe from these hands either, I still enjoyed the romance, the story and seeing Trix’s professional world first hand.

Leo was a strong hero who cared deeply for those close to him. Trix was a wonderful match for him and I really enjoyed their chemistry together. Kudos to Lucy Parker for another winner.

Grade: 4 out of 5

London Celebrities

four-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Hot Response by Shannon Stacey

Posted April 29, 2018 by Rowena in Features | 1 Comment

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

The Boston Fire series by Shannon Stacey follows a team of firefighters who take that journey to true love. Each story follows a different firefighter and Hot Response follows Gavin Boudreau as he falls in love with Cait Tasker. Their story is super cute and you should definitely check it out. You can read my review here. Today we’re sharing an excerpt from the book provided to us by the lovely, Shannon Stacey herself.

Sunday Spotlight: Hot Response by Shannon StaceyHot Response (Boston Fire, #4) by Shannon Stacey
Series: Boston Fire #4
Also in this series: Heat Exchange, Controlled Burn, Heat Exchange, Controlled Burn, Fully Ignited, Fully Ignited, Controlled Burn, Hot Response, Hot Response (Boston Fire, #4), Under Control (Boston Fire, #5)
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: April 24, 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 288
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads

The men of Boston Fire are back and hotter than ever! Don’t miss this brand-new novel from New York Times bestselling author Shannon Stacey.

Gavin Boudreau lives for the job, but he also believes in “work hard, play harder.” As the youngest guy in Ladder 37, he figures he’s got plenty of time before settling down becomes a priority. Soft, pretty women who aren’t looking for promises are exactly his type, and he’s comfortable with that. Working with a gorgeous EMT isn’t going to change who he is.

The last thing Cait Tasker needs in her personal life is a firefighter whose challenges on-scene have been a thorn in her side from minute one. Her plate’s too full for a man anyway. Back in her childhood home to help her family cope with an unexpected tragedy, she’s got enough to handle without throwing a hot, testosterone-laden fireman into the mix.

As long days on the job lead to long nights together, Gavin and Cait will discover how far temptation can take them—and what happens when the one you thought was all wrong for you turns out to be the person you can’t live without.

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Excerpt

“I wanted to talk to you about something, and I thought…” She paused, and then made herself say it. “Maybe over breakfast.”

He looked confused for a few seconds, not that she could blame him. Nothing in their past interactions indicated she’d ever have an interest in sharing a meal with him, and the incident in the hallway after delivering the baby had probably made him believe she didn’t like him at all.

“Or just a coffee or something,” she said when he didn’t respond right away. “It won’t take long.”

“I could go for breakfast right about now. I was going to go around the corner if you want to join me?”

“Sure.”

They walked in silence to the tiny restaurant only locals would know was even there and took a table in the back. There were a few other diners, but nobody that she recognized as somebody she wouldn’t want eavesdropping. Most of the firefighters probably went straight home to crash in their beds for a while, she thought. Or maybe Gavin hadn’t given them the heads-up on the good food to be had. Cait had grabbed coffee and pastries there a few times, but she’d never sat and had a meal.

“This is a bit of a surprise,” he said once they had their coffees and had ordered the veggie-filled omelets the place was famous for, minus onions for Gavin and both with bacon and wheat toast on the side.

She couldn’t tell if he was pleasantly surprised or unpleasantly surprised. “Yeah. It was kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing.”

After tossing and turning all night.

“You okay? From yesterday, I mean?”

“I’m good, really. But it’s the kind of situation that gets you thinking about things, and I was thinking about the things I said after delivering that baby the other day.”

He leaned back in his chair and grinned. “You mean the part where you implied I don’t take my job seriously?”

Yeah, that part. And why did he have to have such a great smile? “See, you’re doing it right now.”

“Doing what?”

“That smile that probably makes women’s pants fall off.”

The eyebrow went up before he pushed his chair back a few inches. Then he bent over, as if he was picking up a dropped fork. A second later, he sat up and pulled his chair back in.

“What are you doing?”

“I was just checking to see if your pants fell off.” The lift of his left shoulder matched the curve of his mouth. “I guess I’ll have to try harder.”

Oh god, please don’t. Cait had never been so thankful she wasn’t prone to blushing because if she was, her face would be as red as the ketchup bottle. She’d come here to apologize for being a bitch to him and, before she’d even addressed her hostility toward him—or at least the part she was willing to admit to—he was implying he’d like to get her out of her pants.

It was obviously just a habit, she told herself. Gavin was probably just a natural charmer who never had to try. And if he did have to try harder…well, what man could resist a challenge?

She tried to focus on that assumption about his character so she wouldn’t be able to focus on the fact he could probably make her pants fall off without too much of an effort at all. Of all the people she came across on a daily basis, she would have bet he was the last person who had a shot, but there was something about his carefree confidence that might grate on her nerves when they were at a scene, but was sexy as hell when he was sitting across a table from her. And between the added stress and reduced privacy that moving back home had brought, she was barely managing to have a social life, never mind a sex life.

She needed to get this conversation back on track, though, before he tried to up his game. “I want to apologize to you.”

“There’s no need for an apology. Believe it or not, the pants don’t always fall down. It happens. Not often, but it happens.” The expression on his face was almost as cocky as the words, and she was about to tell him to forget it—he was exactly who she’d originally thought he was—when he dimmed the high-wattage grin to a sheepish smile and shook his head. “I’m joking. And yes, I do that too much.”

“Why?”

“Why not? I like to laugh. This is the only life I know for sure I’m getting, so I’m going to have fun while I’m living it.” He looked at her, his expression more sincerely thoughtful than she’d thought him capable of. “Maybe sometimes I take it too far. I don’t even know how many times in my life my mom’s told me I don’t know when to quit. But that doesn’t mean I’m not doing my job.”

Cait forced herself not to look away from his direct gaze. “That’s what I wanted to apologize for. What I said the other day, when we delivered that baby, was out of line. You obviously take your job seriously and rumor has it you’re good at it. I’m sorry I said that.”

She half-expected him to make some kind of smart-ass remark or gloat in some way, but the smile he gave her was warm and genuine. “Thank you. I accept your apology. And I’m sorry, too. I might have pushed your buttons a little on purpose because you’re so easy to rile up.”

“I am not.”

“You’re getting riled right now.”

He wasn’t wrong, but he hopefully hadn’t guessed on how many levels he got her wound up. She was going to say something about being sensitive to him pushing her buttons, but she couldn’t figure out how to say it without the possibility of the conversation spinning into innuendo.

“So tell me something, Cait. Since we’re on the subject, why don’t you like me?”

“I don’t know you well enough to not like you.”

“Okay.” He fiddled with his coffee mug, turning it in his hands. “I’ll put it another way. I’ve wondered why you react to me in a way that makes other people ask me what I did to piss you off.”

“They do not.” When he just stared at her, one eyebrow raised, she looked away first. “What did you say?”

“You mean what I tell them I did to piss you off? I breathed.”

Ouch. But that was why she’d invited him to breakfast in the first place—to apologize and talk through whatever their problem was. Whatever her problem was. “I don’t know what it is about you that rubs me the wrong way.”

So much for keeping the conversation innuendo-free, she thought, barely stopping herself from slapping her palm over her face.

“Pent-up sexual tension between us?”

She laughed, because she knew he was joking. Or she was fairly sure he was, at least. “You’re cocky.”

“I’m confident.”

“Same thing.”

He shook his head. “Nope.”

She propped her chin on her hands. “Tell me the difference, then.”

Boston Fire

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About the Author

Shannon Stacey

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | TUMBLR | GOODREADS

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shannon Stacey lives with her husband and two sons in New England, where her favorite activities are writing romance and really random tweets when she’s not riding her ATV. She loves mud, books, football & watching way too much TV.


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Review: The Love Coupon by Ainslie Paton

Posted April 25, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 6 Comments

Review: The Love Coupon by Ainslie PatonReviewer: Rowena
The Love Coupon (Stubborn Hearts, #2) by Ainslie Paton
Series: Stubborn Hearts #2
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: April 9th 2018
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

How many coupons does it take to fall in love?

Flick Dalgetty knows what she wants and how to get it, which is why she’s about to start her dream job in Washington. Until then, she needs somewhere to crash, and Tom O’Connell’s place is her sole option. He’s a repressed, antisocial ogre…but man can he kiss.

For Tom, being around Flick is like being too close to the sun. Her untamed energy is overwhelming, and he’d spontaneously combust if he had to live with her long-term. Housemates with benefits—and an expiration date—suits him just fine.

Then Flick gives Tom thirty coupons, each entitling him to one obligation-free activity, from bowling and bubble-bathing to morning delight, removing all the guesswork from being incompatible partners and shifting their fling into high gear.

Now the problem is their arrangement is drawing to a close, and they might be falling in love—and there wasn’t a coupon for that.

I’ve been hearing good things about both this book and the first book in this series, The Love Experiment but I was hesitant to try out a new to me author and I really shouldn’t have been scared because I really enjoyed this book. So The Love Coupon by Ainslie Paton is the second book in her Stubborn Hearts series and it was a sweet contemporary romance that made me feel all of the feels.

So we’ve got straightlaced Tom O’Connell who just lost his roommate to an overseas job and he’s searching but not really searching for a new roommate to share bills with and the very last person that he wants in his house is Flick Dalgetty…but she needs a temporary place to lay her head until she finishes out her current job and moves to Washington DC for her new job. Bunking with Tom would be perfect, if he didn’t have so many rules and if he wasn’t so uptight about everything under the sun. They couldn’t be more different from each other if they tried but Flick will take what she can get and she’ll pipe down her colorful personality for a room to call her own until she can leave Chicago in a couple of months.

Tom grew up with an asshole father who treated him like he was an idiot and that relationship kind of turns him into an unyielding jerk who doesn’t tolerate messy people. His old roommate Josh was a perfect roommate match for him because he was neat, he was tidy and he kept to himself. They were great friends and when Josh leaves for a job overseas, Tom is stuck because he wants to share bills but he does not want to share bills with flighty Flick Dalgetty. Haha, oh Tom.

Flick Dalgetty is the black sheep of her family. Her family is stuck in their ways and they resent Flick because she got out. She got out of their family pit and made something of herself so they treat her like crap. Flick, on her side of things, keeps things civil with them by buying them whatever they need. Food, clothes, bikes, you name it, Flick has bought for them and they don’t act like they appreciate Flick’s efforts. So Flick hides her frustrations behind a bright smile and a sparkling personality and all of that does her no favors with her new roommate.

They’re opposites in every way but together, they mesh so incredibly well that I ate up their story from beginning to end. The romance between Tom and Flick was fun and it was cute and I was here for it all. I adored seeing them grow closer and closer with each passing day. I loved seeing them try to be good and then threw caution to the wind and come together. Their different personalities really shined together and they were just too cute for words. If I had a gripe, it would probably be that it took quite a while for the love coupons to come into play but other than that? Great stuff.

Overall, this book worked for me. I enjoyed Ainslie Paton’s writing style. I really enjoyed the little glimpses that we got of the other characters. I’m curious about Jack and Derelie. I’m totally planning on going back and reading their book because she’s a lifestyle writer and I’m mighty curious about that. I also would like to see more Josh and everyone else that we meet in this one. Ainslie Paton has earned herself a spot on my will check out again list and I can’t wait to read more from her. I definitely recommend.

Stubborn Hearts Series

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: Hot Response by Shannon Stacey

Posted April 24, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Hot Response by Shannon StaceyReviewer: Rowena
Hot Response (Boston Fire, #4) by Shannon Stacey
Series: Boston Fire #4
Also in this series: Heat Exchange, Controlled Burn, Heat Exchange, Controlled Burn, Fully Ignited, Fully Ignited, Controlled Burn, Hot Response, Under Control (Boston Fire, #5)
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: April 24th 2018
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 288
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

The men of Boston Fire are back and hotter than ever! Don’t miss this brand-new novel from New York Times bestselling author Shannon Stacey.

Gavin Boudreau lives for the job, but he also believes in “work hard, play harder.” As the youngest guy in Ladder 37, he figures he’s got plenty of time before settling down becomes a priority. Soft, pretty women who aren’t looking for promises are exactly his type, and he’s comfortable with that. Working with a gorgeous EMT isn’t going to change who he is.

The last thing Cait Tasker needs in her personal life is a firefighter whose challenges on-scene have been a thorn in her side from minute one. Her plate’s too full for a man anyway. Back in her childhood home to help her family cope with an unexpected tragedy, she’s got enough to handle without throwing a hot, testosterone-laden fireman into the mix.

As long days on the job lead to long nights together, Gavin and Cait will discover how far temptation can take them—and what happens when the one you thought was all wrong for you turns out to be the person you can’t live without.

Hot Response by Shannon Stacey is the fourth book in her Boston Fire series and it’s another great straight up contemporary romance. It was the perfect romance for me to read after coming out some very complicated magical worlds and stories. I was in the mood for a straight up romance and this one fit the bill. Gavin and Cait were a fabulous couple that I really enjoyed getting to know.

Gavin and Cait work in the first responder’s world and they see each other from time to time. Gavin is a firefighter and Cait is an EMT. They don’t know each other all that well and back when they first met, Cait entertained the idea of asking Gavin out until he called her ma’am and she changed her mind. Someone that calls you ma’am does not want to bang you. All these weeks later and Cait is annoyed that she is still attracted to Gavin so she cops an attitude every time he’s around. She can’t help it and he’s confused about it but it is what it is until…they’re thrown together on a call and they run hot and then cold with each other.

Gavin has no idea what he did to make Cait hate him and he’s low key sorry about that because Cait Tasker is good looking and he’s definitely noticed her before. After the last call they were on together, he’s thinking about her and her attitude and when his shift is over, he is surprised to see her waiting for him outside the firehouse. She’s there to apologize over apology bacon and he’s in.

I really liked the way that Shannon Stacey handled the telling of this story. You see Gavin and Cait before they became Gavin and Cait. You see them become friends, get to know each other and fall in love while trying to figure out how to make room for each other in their lives. Cait is dealing with some stuff at home and it’s hard for her to see past her home life and she’s feeling the pressure of trying to keep everyone in her life happy and when Gavin start to push for more, she has to deal with how she feels about a future with him without being her family’s crutch.

This story revolves around two people going through real-life problems and trying to figure themselves out. I loved how straightforward this romance was. There’s no magical kingdom to save, no complicated background to sort through. It’s just two people falling in love and trying to figure out how to be together and merge their lives. I loved seeing everyone from the previous books in this series in the background and I really enjoyed both Cait’s family but Gavin’s as well. I connected with both Cait and Gavin and was rooting for them from the very beginning.

I’ve got my fingers crossed that we’ll get a book for Grant and Wren as I’m mighty curious about them but I’m ready for Derek’s story too.

This is a solid romance with two likable main characters and a supporting cast that readers will come to love. The romance was sweet and there are plenty of hot firefighters to fall in love with so what are you waiting for? Get this book and read it!

4 out of 5

Boston Fire Series

4 out of 5

four-stars


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